MEXICO — Perhaps the former SAD 43
central office building would make a good Town Office, or maybe
an area organization will want to rent or buy it.

Those were two of many ideas kicked around
by the town’s Board of Selectmen on Wednesday during a special workshop
meeting to try to determine the future of the two-story,
10,000-square-foot, town-owned structure.

The circa 1960 former classroom building is valued at $1.2 million,
according to its insurance carrier. Townspeople voted to accept the building
from the school district earlier this year when SAD 43 merged with
the newly created Western Foothills Regional School Unit 10. That
central office is in Dixfield.

But before anything happens to
the facility adjacent to
the town’s recreation center, the board must decide whether it would
be less expensive to shut it up for the winter or to
maintain some heat. The question is insurance: Is it cheaper to
insure the building when it is heated and costing the town money for fuel, or
would the higher cost of insuring a closed-up building be less than the cost of fuel?

Town Manager John Madigan will bring
his findings back to the board at its Aug. 19 meeting.

He will also research some of the other
ideas growing out of the workshop, such as contacting the Veterans
Administration, which is looking for a new site for its current clinic
on Franklin Avenue in Rumford. The VA has submitted a request for
a proposal to the River Valley Technology Center, which has an
abundance of vacant space in its Lowell Street, Rumford, building.

Madigan was also directed to contact
the University of Maine System. The college has been considering a
move from its site on Brown Street.

Board Chairwoman Barbara Laramee
suggested that perhaps the Shared Use Kitchen Committee, under the
organizational umbrella of the River Valley Growth Council, might be
interested in the building.

Madigan and Selectman Reggie
Arsenault believe the building could be a good place to move the
town offices and library. If the town could buy a 10,000-gallon capacity fuel tank for the site, costs for fuel would be
reduced. Madigan said planning grants are
available to study the advantages and disadvantages of moving the Town Office.

Selectmen also want ideas from
residents for the future of the former central office. The issue will be taken up again at the
Aug.19 board meeting.

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